Research Staff

Kui Xie

Kui Xie – Cyphert Distinguished Professor & Lab Director | . . . .
Dr. Kui Xie is Cyphert Distinguished Professor and program chair of Learning Technologies in Department of Educational Studies at The Ohio State University (OSU). He is the founding director of The Research Laboratory for Digital Learning. He earned his Ph.D. in Instructional Psychology and Technology from University of Oklahoma. He is a member of the editorial board for Contemporary Educational Psychology. Nationally he served chair for American Educational Research Association(AERA) SIG Design and Technology, and section chair for AERA Division C Section 3.A. Learning Environments. In 2015, Xie was named the Ted and Lois Cyphert Distinguished Professor. In 2017, Xie received the EHE Distinguished Research Award from The Ohio State University. He also received a Chang Jiang Scholar Award from the Chinese Ministry of Education. His research interests include: computer-supported collaborative learning, motivation and human cognition, learning analytics and social network analysis, artificial intelligence in education, instructional design and development, problem solving and scaffolding, and technology integration in teaching and educational research.

Gennaro Di Tosto

Gennaro Di Tosto – Data Analytics Research Lead | . .
Dr. Gennaro Di Tosto holds a Ph.D. in cognitive science from the University of Padova, Italy.
Before joining Ohio State, he was a research associate at the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research of the University of Manchester, UK, and before that he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. His research activity has focused on the study of multi-agent systems as tools to understand social processes, including the dynamics of social conventions and norms or the evolution of trust and cooperation.
He is interested in understanding decision-making processes through data analysis and simulation in both theoretical terms and applied scenarios.

Vanessa Vongkulluksn

Vanessa Vongkulluksn – School-based Research Lead | .
Vanessa Vongkulluksn holds a Ph.D. degree in Urban Education Policy from the University of Southern California, with a concentration in Educational Psychology and Quantitative Methods. She has focused her research on examining factors that impact learning and motivation in technology-integrated contexts. Her additional research interests include the development of digital literacy skills and their influence on children’s academic motivation and achievement in technology-rich learning environments. She has over five years of experience in school-based research and statistical analyses of data related to learning, cognition, and motivation.

Young Suk Cho

Young Suk Cho – Development Research Lead | .
Young Suk Cho received a Master’s degree in Computer Science Engineering from OSU and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology. Before joining the OSU, he worked as a researcher and developer at KT (Korea Telecom) Corporation in the area of Social Media and Network Analysis area. His research interests include Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Social Media Analysis, Data, Text & Opinion Mining, Audio Source Separation, Recommender System, and Deep Learning.

Faculty Affiliates

David Stein

David Stein – Associate Professor | .
Dr. David Stein is an associate professor of adult and distance education at The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology. He directs the minor in Virtual Teaching and develops online courses with a focus on the virtual classroom and adult learning. His main area of interest investigates how distance learning technologies can enhance and improve the design and delivery of online learning experiences. Dr. Stein has been recognized and regarded throughout the higher education community as a lead developer of institutional online and distance learning, including the 2014 finalist award from the National University Technology Network, the 2013 Imogene Oakes Award for Outstanding Research in Adult Education from The American Association for Adult and Continuing Education, the 2012 Best Research Paper Award from the National University Technology Network, and the 2012 Shauna Schullo Award for Best Distance Teaching Practices at the Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning.

Ola Ahlqvist

Ola Ahlqvist – Associate Professor | . .
Dr. Ola Ahlqvist is Associate Professor in Geography at the Ohio State University, USA. He has worked professionally with local and regional environmental planning in Finland and Sweden in the early 1990’s. After completing a PhD in Geography at Stockholm University in 2001 followed by post-doctoral training at Penn State University he joined Ohio State in 2005. His interest revolves around three broad areas: 1) semantic uncertainty and formal ontology in analysis of land cover change, landscape history, and visualization. 2) how online maps, social media, and games form a nexus for spatial collaboration, social-environmental simulation, and decision making. 3) the scholarship of teaching and learning in GIS and Service-Learning.

Graduate Research Associates

Lin Lu

Lin Lu – Doctoral Student | . .
Lin Lu earned her bachelor’s degree in Educational Technology from Beijing Normal University, China. Her academic interests include student motivation and engagement in online learning, online collaborative learning, analytics-supported virtual learning environment building, and technical supports and improvement for qualitative studies.

Sheng-Bo Chen

Sheng-Bo Chen – Doctoral Student | .
Sheng-Bo Chen has 15+ years of experience in web design and development. He got his M.S. in Multimedia Design from National Taichung University of Science and Technology and B.A. in Applied Japanese from Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology. He works as a director of design and technology for MacroViz Interactive Media Design Co., Ltd. as well as a course consultant, course designer, and textbook editor and author of a Responsive Web Design course for a big chain computer training school in Taiwan. He always keeps his mind open to apply innovative technologies in IT education.

Sheng-Lun Cheng

Sheng-Lun (Shonn) Cheng – Doctoral Student | .
Shonn Cheng received his M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from New Mexico State University with Honors and B.A. in English from Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages. Cheng completed Master’s thesis in 2013 fall, titled “The Design of Online Experiential Financial Literacy Games.” His academic interests encompass game-based learning, the impacts of technologies on knowledge, attitude, and behavior change, critical pedagogy, evaluations of technology-enhanced programs, and quantitative measurement.

Caglar Sulun

Caglar Sulun – Doctoral Student | . . .
Caglar Sulun holds an M.A. in Educational Technologies from the Department of Educational Studies at The Ohio State University. He previously earned his bachelor degree in Computer Education and Instructional Technology (CEIT) from Necmettin Erbakan University, Turkey. His research interests include: game-based learning, technology integration in teaching and educational research, integration of traditional and modern education, multimedia design, instructional design and development.

Semih Bursali

Semih Bursali – Master Student | .
Semih Bursali is a master student in Educational Technologies in Department of Educational Studies at The Ohio State University. He earned his bachelor degree in Computer Education and Instructional Technology from Anadolu University, Turkey in 2012. His research interests include: improving educational efficiency by applying research results from natural sciences and tablet technology, and game-based learning.

Graduate Research Affiliates


Nathan Hawk – Doctoral Student | .
Nathan Hawk earned his Bachelors Degree in mathematics from Carthage College (Kenosha, WI) and Master of Arts in Educational Technology Leadership from The George Washington University. He currently works as a high school instructor in a non-traditional high school setting, primarily serving at-risk students. The school focuses on different distance education instructional models. His research interests include the role of technology and technology integration into K-12 education and online learning, STEM, technology professional development, the role of technology for at-risk students and the role of instructional technology in charter schools.


Margaret Bowman – Doctoral Student | .
Margaret Bowman earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Ashland University (Ashland, OH) with a teaching license in Middle Grades Education, and her Master of Education from Tiffin University (Tiffin, OH). She was a middle school Math and Language Arts teacher for 6 years, before joining the Academic Design Department at McGraw-Hill Education in Columbus, Ohio. She currently works as an in the Middle School Mathematics Department, writing and designing digital curriculum. Her research interests include the role of technology and technology integration into K-12 education, professional development needs for technology integration, and gender biases in learning technology.

Past Members

Min Kyu Kim

Min Kyu Kim | . .
Dr. Min Kyu Kim was a postdoctoral researcher in the lab from 2015 to 2016. He joined the Learning Technology Division at Georgia State University as an assistant professor in Fall 2016.

Zhiru Sun

Zhiru Sun | .
Dr. Zhiru Sun is a OSU alumna, who completed her doctoral work with the lab in 2015. She is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at University of Southern Denmark.

Serkan Izmirli

Serkan Izmirli | .
Dr. Serkan Izmirli was a visiting scholar at The Ohio State University for the academic year 2015-2016. He works at Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University (COMU) as an assistant professor in Turkey. He is the director of Distance Education Implementation and Research Center at COMU.

Ozden Sahin Izmirli

Ozden Sahin Izmirli | .
Dr. Ozden Sahin Izmirli was a visiting scholar at The Ohio State University for the academic year 2015-2016. She is an assistant professor at Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey.

Bo Liu

Bo Liu | .
Dr. Bo Liu was a visiting scholar at The Ohio State University for the academic year 2014-2015. He is an associate professor at South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China.

Guijuan Gao

Guijuan Gao | .
Dr. Guijuan Gao was a visiting scholar at The Ohio State University for the academic year 2014-2015. She is an associate professor at Tongji University, Shanghai, China.